Renae Smith

Dates, the food of the Gods.

Renae Smith
Dates, the food of the Gods.

Dates are everything... period.

Anyone who watched Masterchef Australia knows about my obsession with dates... in fact, it's still one of the most frequent ingredients I am tagged in on social media.  Today, I received an amazing event notification which got me giddy with excitement, until I realised I was going to be in Paris that day and wouldn't be able to make it.

Instead, I am posting this blog here so that hopefully my London readers can head along, and TAG ME in the action so i can be there in spirit.





Michael Rakowitz’s new work The Invisible Enemy Should Not Exist will be unveiled on the Fourth Plinth in London’s Trafalgar Square, March 28th, by the Mayor of London Sadiq Khan. For this commission, Rakowitz has recreated the Lamassu: a winged bull and protective deity that stood at the entrance to the Nergal Gate of Nineveh (near modern-day Mosul, Iraq) from c. 700 B.C, until it was destroyed by ISIS in 2015. 

To coincide with the unveiling, a pop-up event space and cultural hub curated by publisher Plinth will be presented at Trafalgar Square, March 28th from 9:30am until 5pm: The House With A Date Palm, where the traditional Iraqi breakfast of Silan wa Rashi (date syrup with tahini), and ginger and date cake (recipe by Honey & Co.) will be available for the public and press to sample throughout the day. “The public will be able to see the date syrup industry embodied on the plinth”, says the artist, “and taste it at the pop-up. There’s a consistency between the visual and the experiential.” With this in mind, Michael himself will be delivering a short talk about his commission and the foodstuff which forms its fabric at the pop-up from 11:30am.

Rakowitz is creating a limited edition artwork using date syrup tins sourced from Karbala in Iraq. Each is accompanied by a book of date syrup recipes, including contributions from chef Claudia Roden, Middle Eastern restaurant Honey & Co., and the artist’s mother, Yvonne Rakowitz. The House With A Date Palmpop-up will stock the edition uniquely packaged for the unveiling. While the whole edition of 2,376 will feature Rakowitz’s signature on the accompanying recipe book, editions purchased on the day will be signed and numbered, individually and on the box itself, by the artist. This tightly limited run of an already limited edition will be available exclusively at the pop-up.

A new range of products from design company Plinth and the Mayor of London will accompany the work, also available to purchase at the pop-up and inspired by the use of food in Rakowitz’s art as a way of bridging cultural and political divides. It includes tote bags, wooden spoons and aprons, and the items feature the Arabic proverb: A House With A Date Palm Will Never Starve. A portion of the profits from the merchandise sales will be given to support the Mayor of London’s educational projects.

Admission is free, but space is limited within the pop-up (3m x 6m marquee!)